Cross Admiralty Canoe Route

The Cross Admiralty Canoe Route, a 32-mile water trail between Angoon and Seymour Canal, links seven mountain lakes, trails and portages that allow for kayak and canoe travel across the island. It’s an amazing adventure for experienced independent travelers, especially with Forest Service cabins providing shelter along the way.

The modern-day course, with cabins and shelters along the way, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. However, the story of this path goes back even further. The Tlingit people have been using these waterways for thousands of years, crossing the lakes to hunt and trap furs. Before that even, the island’s bears were the first trail-breakers.

They share the pristine wilderness with waterfowl, eagles, Sitka black-tailed deer, salmon and trout. Traverse this trail and experience life as it was here a thousand years ago. Forests of dense spruce and hemlock line the inland lakes and saltwater channels that lead you from Mitchell Bay to Seymour Canal. Snow-topped mountains serve as a contrasting backdrop to the green expanses around and the sky above.

Angoon residents especially enjoy recreating at Hasselborg Lake, about halfway through the canoe route. Three cabins are available here, along with nearby trails, fishing, and spectacular views.

Before you go

  • Get a detailed map from the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Decide on timing and reserve cabins along the way. You can do this up to 180 days in advance. (The Canoe Route is lightly traveled, but hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts frequently get to the cabins by seaplane, so you’ll want a reservation.)
  • Familiarize yourself with potential hazards and how to handle them, including brown bear.
  • Supplies are limited in Angoon, so stock up ahead of time.
  • Arrange for transportation (seaplane, boat charter, ferry)

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 57.496658
Longitude: -134.568477

By ferry: You can bring a kayak on the ferry from Juneau to Angoon. Once there, you’ll need to transport your kayak overland a few miles to the other side of the isthmus, on Kootznahoo Inlet. There’s no taxi service, but ask around locally and someone will help you figure it out (it’s really that small of a town!).

By seaplane: You won’t be able to transport a kayak by regular seaplane service, so arrange in advance for a charter. It will cost a little more than a regular seat, but lands you conveniently right where you need to be – just across from Mitchell Bay.

Once you make it across the island to Seymour Canal, load your gear up on the one-mile tram and walk along the boardwalk, pushing your kayaks and gear easily by rail over the boggy, mossy muskeg. This will bring you to Oliver Inlet. From here, it depends on your experience and comfort level. Some choose to go on to Juneau by kayak, although paddling across Stephens Passage can be difficult, with frequent high winds and rough seas. Alternatively, you can arrange for a water taxi or seaplane to meet you at Oliver Inlet and take you to Juneau.